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June 22, 2020, by Leah Sharpe

Returning home as an international student and finding a job

By John Lim, social work graduate

I thought it was going to be easy. Move back to Singapore, find a job, and start earning some money! How difficult could that be? Well, more difficult than I thought. Today, if you’re an international student who’s thinking about moving back home, I hope this blog post will provide help to guide that move. 

Give yourself some time

Don’t expect to move back and straight into a job immediately. For one, change is never easy to navigate. It’s even more difficult when you are changing multiple things at once. You’re changing your place of living, your job, and the people you’re regularly interacting with. It can mean coping with missing the people, place, and peace that you’ve come to enjoy in Nottingham. Out of the many practical things you can do, I personally found the exercise of writing a farewell letter to my experience in England useful in putting a full stop to my student life there. My therapist recommended this to me. You might find it useful as well. 

Keep in touch with your friends from abroad

When weekly meetings with your friends suddenly disappear, that can be hard. Thanks to technology, keeping in touch with them is still possible. The friendships you cultivated through University, the essays you rushed to complete, getting lost on campus, and taking selfies with the geese – these are cherished memories that don’t disappear just because you have moved. Rebuilding the friendships back home can take time. Leaning on your previous support systems from University is vital.

Arrange interviews whilst in the UK

It helps to start looking for jobs if you are certain that returning home is what you want to do. Searching for jobs doesn’t work like the all-nighters you would pull to hit that deadline. Rather, it’s like running a marathon. I found that it starts with understanding yourself and how your skills and interests align. It then moves towards thinking about where you want to be in X years, and how an organisation can help you move there. It’s a process of searching, refining, and yes, getting it wrong. Apply and see the interviews as an opportunity to understand more about who you are. Most importantly, do something. Don’t get trapped in analysis paralysis, where you think what if… 

Moving home is not easy. But acknowledging its difficulty, sharing about your difficulty, and preparing in advance, makes it more manageable. 

John also writes for Save the Social Worker.

As a graduate of the University of Nottingham you can continue to use the Careers resources to help you build your career. Explore the alumni webpages 

Posted in Alumni StoriesInternational Students